Carlsen Chess Classic

Is Carlsen going to dominate in London or can his remaining opponents give him a hard time? So far victories over Kramnik and McShane put him into the lead. Even today's draw was only a whisker away from a third consecutive victory.

The third round again saw Carlsen taking the ascendance in his game, although he will be disappointed not to have taken the full point.

David HowellENG25970.5-0.5Magnus CarlsenNOR2801Sicilian Alapin (B22)
Luke McShaneENG26150-1Vladimir KramnikRUS2772Bishop's opening (C24)
Hikaru NakamuraUSA27150.5-0.5Nigel ShortENG2707Nimzoindian (E44)
Ni HuaCHN26650.5-0.5Michael AdamsENG2698Spanish Marshall (C89)

In the games:

David Howell steered play into an assymetric structure where he had a preponderence on the queenside. Later he won Black's weak c-pawn but Carlsen's pieces were always the more active. Eventually the Norwegian broke through and his activity led to him winning the exchange. David deserves great credit for the way he kept on fighting and eventually scraped a draw, despite this result looking distinctly unlikely at one point!

Luke McShane tried to play a solid opening, but was outplayed by Kramnik who found a way to activate his position, while at the same time McShane found it difficult to harmonize his pieces. Even worse for the Englishman, White's king got in the way of his rooks and while McShane sought a solution Kramnik seized control on both flanks.

The Marshall Gambit is a theoretical line where Black sacrifices a pawn for continuing compensation (dynamic bishops, kingside pressure). Ni Hua was even able to capture an important central pawn but Adams obtained dangerous play along the long light-squared diagonal. So there was nothing better for Ni Hua than giving back his pawn to obtain simplification into a drawish ending.

Nakamura against Short was quite calm. Short played some dynamic little ideas with the black pieces in the Nimzoindian defence while Nakamura tried to maintain his space advantage. Black chipped away and exchanges followed leading to balanced equality and no winning chances for each side.

The tournament standings going into the rest day:

NameCountryRatingAgeWorld rankingSofia pointsStandard pointsElo points change
Magnus CarlsenNOR280119272.5+4.6
Vladimir KramnikRUS277234562+1.8
Hikaru NakamuraUSA2715222431.5-1.0
Michael AdamsENG2698383631.5-1.7
David HowellENG25971920231.5+5.5
Luke McShaneENG26152515831+0.8
Nigel ShortENG2707442921-7.7
Ni HuaCHN2665266021-2.3

Carlsen won the 'best game' prizes on both of the first two days, whereas in the third round presumably Kramnik will obtain this award.

The fourth round will be played on Saturday (as Friday is a rest day).

Magnus CarlsenNOR2801Hikaru NakamuraUSA2715
Vladimir KramnikRUS2772Michael AdamsENG2698
Luke McShaneENG2615David HowellENG2597
Nigel ShortENG2707Ni HuaCHN2665

You may be interested to see the Norwegain's recent results. One can certainly conclude that he is still improving!

Carlsen's most recent tournaments in Classical chess:

PlaceTournamentmonthwinsdrawslossesElo change
LondonChess Classic12/09200(+4.6)
MoscowTal memorial11/09270+4.7
NanjingPearl Spring10/09640+28.80
SofiaM-Tel Masters5/09361+7.8

His previous loss in a classical game was in Dortmund against Vladimir Kramnik, he also lost his last round game in Sofia two months earlier against Alexei Shirov.

Carlsen's career milestones:

RatingStrengthWhen achieved
2400IM StrengthOctober 2003
2500GM StrengthApril 2004
2600Strong GMJanuary 2006
2700Super GMJuly 2007
2800Top ten of all time?September 2009
2805.7Virtual World No.1November 2009

The amazing Norwegian was Born in 1990 and is only 19-years-old. He was awarded the GM title in 2004.

Finally a couple of close ups of the players involved in the match for second place going into the rest day.

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For more information go to the official site: Official site for the London Chess Classic.

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